Not only is the age of revolutionary real estate technology upon us, but so is the era of the smart home. Walk into any residence built in the last few years and you’ll see an array of new gadgets that regulate room temperature, operate home appliances remotely, and help people improve their cooking. Regardless of the utility, these smart home systems all share a common goal: to simplify life for the modern homeowner — which is something many consumers want. In fact, an ERA Real Estate and HGTV study found 46 percent of consumers deem smart home technology important for their current and future residences.
Many real estate agents and brokers already know the importance current and prospective homeowners place on smart home tech — after all, these pros enjoy plenty of real estate technology too. However, some may be behind on the latest tech resources many buyers desire to have in their homes (and many sellers should add to make their homes more desirable). Catch up on all of the latest and greatest tech below, where we’ve outlined several popular smart home devices that many homeowners aspire to have in their properties.
Nest ($249 for thermostat, $99 for smoke/CO detector): Keeps Homeowners Affordably Comfortable and Safe
Nest’s smart home tech is arguably one of the most popular home devices today, which shouldn’t surprise many, given it was one of the first to revolutionize home heating and cooling. This unique thermostat adjusts a home’s temperature based on pre-set homeowner preferences and allows users to audit and adjust temp settings from practically anywhere. Nest is now more than just a smart thermostat (as one could’ve guessed after Google bought the company for $3.2 billion). The latest offering, Nest Protect, is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that’s equally as impressive. It speaks to homeowners to alert them of what’s happening in their residences when the alarm goes off. All in all, the device could help persuade buyers looking for both home energy savings and quality safety features that your listing is right for them.
Wally ($299): Hub Sensor Monitors Water Leaks, Mold, and Humidity and Syncs Data to Smartphone App
Buyers want to be certain that any home they consider purchasing is not only aesthetically pleasing and functional, but also a healthy environment. You and your sellers can alleviate buyers’ health concerns by setting up Wally, a smart home device that detects water leaks and mold throughout residences and tracks changes in humidity and temperature. The wireless gadget doesn’t even need installation — the sensors (which sync to a single hub) track plumbing throughout the home to spot issues and alert homeowners of water activity via their computer and other devices. Everything from washing machines and dishwashers to wine cellars and basement heaters can be monitored by Wally. The smart home system even syncs with Nest’s thermostat: When Wally detects changes in home temperature, it alerts Nest to adjust the temp accordingly.
Aros ($279): Air Conditioner Adjusts Home Temperature Based on Homeowner’s Location and Budget
Little action is needed from owners of Quirky’s Aros smart air conditioner, which is one of the smart home appliance’s best qualities. Install the AC in a residence, connect to the mobile app, and homeowners are ready to go. The cooling system tracks energy costs to help homeowners keep their budget in order. Moreover, it knows when residents leave their home and, thus, turns itself off to conserve energy. It even suggests temperature settings based on upcoming weather reports. Agents working in hot climates may find this smart home device makes residences appealing and convenient for prospective buyers.
WeMo (pricing varies for each product): An Array of Home Automation Tools and Appliances Controlled by Your Smartphone or Tablet
Many smart home tech firms today focus on multiple home solutions that simplify life for homeowners rather than a single one. Belkin is one company that offers several services and products for modern homeowners, including its WeMo home automation system. From WiFi-enabled light switches to the ability to measure home energy usage to integration with Belkin’s NetCam mini cameras, WeMo makes it easy for homeowners to ensure every part of their home operates efficiently. As with the other smart home gadgets mentioned, WeMo’s services can be controlled through mobile devices.
Heatworks ($475): New-Age Digital Water Heater Aims to Make Bulky Traditional Heaters Obsolete
Water heater issues often lead to headaches for homeowners. Leaks, low water pressure, no hot water for lengthy periods of time — each of these issues can be costly to fix. The Heatworks Model 1 water heater aims to end those problems. The device, marketed as “the world’s first digital water heater,” which uses water’s natural resistance to heat itself (don’t bother thinking about the science behind it), is considerably smaller than traditional heaters and can reportedly help homeowners save 20% on water costs annually. Its compactness makes it easy to fit under sinks and functionality makes water temperature adjustment simple, thanks to its mobile setup.
August ($250): Smart Home Security System for Keyless Entry and Monitoring Who Enters and Exits Home Via Mobile
Losing keys isn’t solely a homeowner problem — it’s a human problem. Everyone loses or misplaces theirs at one point or another. August recognizes this issue, which led to the development of its smart lock. Homeowners simply need to install the device to their home’s doors and invite those they want to have access to the keyless locks on the smart home solution’s software, including mobile app, and voilà — no longer do they have to worry about locating keys in the bottom of their purses or fret over leaving them at work. Invitations can be extended and withdrawn whenever users want.
Phillips Hue (pricing varies by product): WiFi Lighting System Makes It Simple to Control Home Energy and Aesthetic
Plug in, connect, enjoy: That’s the basic premise Phillips offers with its Hue lighting system. Control all of the major lighting in your home with the Hue app, which can adjust light bulbs’ glow for different purposes, like reading, concentrating, and relaxing. As one can surmise, different color hues are available with the special light bulbs, which connect via WiFi to a single hub homeowners can place anywhere in their homes. Several different bulb types are sold by Phillips that account for different wattage outputs, along with special light strips and lamps.
Savant (pricing varies by package): Luxury Home Automation System Aids with Many Lighting and Entertainment Needs
This one is definitely geared toward high-end homeowners, given the price and seemingly many, many hours needed to get it going, but this particular smart home technology is one that can greatly boost luxury listings’ appeal. Savant’s automation will be attractive to tech-savvy luxury buyers, as it boasts controls for a home’s entertainment system and the temperatures and lighting settings for each room in residences. Just like some of the previously listed smart home devices, Savant is also energy-efficient, allowing for monitoring energy usage and savings. It’s definitely a big investment, even for well-off clients, but one that could reap a higher sale price.
Whirlpool (pricing varies by product): Control Your Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, and Refrigerator from Anywhere
One of the more popular home appliance brands in America today has steadily stepped into the smart home limelight. Whirlpool now offers consumers Smart Appliances with its proprietary 6th Sense Live technology that can be operated and monitored remotely through smartphone and tablet apps. From just about anywhere, homeowners can ensure their fridge is at the right temperature, how much longer dryers and washers need to finish their loads, and start and stop appliances as needed. If there’s one thing most buyers look for in homes, it’s ease of use with major appliances. Prompting sellers to upgrade theirs to Whirlpool’s offerings could attract more buyers and better offers.
RainMachine: Automates Sprinklers to Work When Actually Needed, Not on Predetermined Schedule
Certainly a niche smart home app, but one that can bring about significant home savings, RainMachine ensures sprinkler systems only use the right amount of water — and at the right time — to keep water expenses down and lawns and other greenery lush. Automated sprinklers tend to go off at times when they’re simply not needed. RainMachine is smarter than scheduled sprinkler systems of old in that it understands what the weather is like and, in turn, adjusts the output for a property’s sprinkler setup. Home buyers with green thumbs who purchase residences with this smart home tech in place can avoid messing up their yards and only feed their grass, bushes, and plants when absolutely needed.
In addition to these smart home devices, there’s also lots of great real estate marketing tech. Check out the 10 top real estate tools, apps, and resources of 2014.
What smart home technology do you think will be popular in 2015? What smart home devices do you think buyers want most? Share your thoughts with us below!